Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear breaks ground for $11.5 million KY 56 widening project in Union County
Announces $200,000 for energy efficiency improvements to Union County community buildings
MORGANFIELD, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear today joined local officials to break ground on the much-anticipated KY 56 (Morganfield-Shawneetown Road) widening project in Union County.
Gov. Beshear also announced $200,000 for several projects to improve energy efficiency at public buildings throughout the community.
“The KY 56 project highlights a growing need for improved infrastructure and access into our rural communities,” said Gov. Beshear. “Motorists will soon enjoy a safer, more reliable roadway.”
The nearly 4-mile project widens KY 56 from downtown Morganfield to KY 360 near Spring Grove. Crews will essentially rebuild this portion of KY 56 by correcting the roadway alignment and fixing certain pavement deficiencies. The new route will be widened to include two 12-foot lanes with paved 10-foot shoulders. This initial widening project is part of an overall venture to expand KY 56 to KY 109 near the Shawneetown Bridge over the Ohio River.
Despite being a major artery for Morganfield and Union County, KY 56 remains underutilized by commercial and regular traffic due to the narrow, curvy, and hilly nature of the roadway. Currently, truckers with an AAA Trucking Route rating (maximum weight of 80,000 lbs) are prohibited from traveling along the narrow, shoulder-less KY 56. Truckers must detour nearly 30 miles out of their way via KY 109 and U.S. 60 to reach Morganfield.
The completed project will allow truckers to shave nearly 13 miles off a one-way trip. The proposed widening project for the remainder is included in the Governor’s 2014 Recommended Highway Plan.
“I am pleased to see this important infrastructure project moving forward,” said Sen. Dorsey Ridley, of Henderson. “Widening this busy thoroughfare will be welcomed by Union County residents and visitors alike.”
The 3,200-foot Shawneetown Bridge opened to traffic in 1956, maintaining a historic transportation link that started with ferry service at the site as early as 1802. On average, about 3,800 vehicles cross the bridge daily. The bridge also serves as an important agricultural and industrial link between Kentucky and Illinois.
“I’m pleased to see this long overdue highway project finally come to fruition in Union County,” said Rep. Suzanne Miles, of Owensboro. “When the widening of Kentucky 56 is completed it will provide a much safer road for people to travel. It will also serve the farm and business communities who have been forced to travel miles out of the way because of the unsafe and outdated highway. This was the very first item brought to my attention as 7th District State Representative."
HICON Construction LLC, of Bardstown, was awarded the $11.5 million contract for the Morganfield to Spring Grove section in December. The anticipated completion date is September 2015.
Energy Efficiency Improvements in Union County
Gov. Beshear announced $200,000 to improve energy efficiency at public buildings throughout Union County.
A $100,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Grant (EEC) will go toward a series of lighting, HVAC, roofing and insulation projects to improve energy efficiency in public buildings, including the courthouse and annex, the jail, the center for senior citizens, the Union County Health Department, the, the Union County Water District, the Camp Breckinridge Museum and American Legion hall.
In addition to the grant, the Union County Fiscal Court will receive a $100,000 EEC Revolving Loan at no interest to help finance the improvements.
“By increasing energy efficiency in vital public buildings, this grant will reduce energy costs and in turn save taxpayer dollars,” said Gov. Beshear. “Projects such as these reduce Kentucky’s overall energy dependence, which is a major goal of my seven-point energy strategy.”
“I am pleased that Union County was able to receive this low-interest loan to assist with these energy enhancements,” said Sen. Dorsey Ridley. “The energy efficient improvements will have a positive impact in Union County.”
“As energy costs go up, efficiency retrofits to public buildings become increasingly more valuable,” said Department for Local Government (DLG) Commissioner Tony Wilder. “This project will not only lower Union County’s utility bills; it will reduce the county’s carbon footprint and increase the community’s overall energy efficiency.”
The EEC is administered by DLG and builds on the work begun with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, funding that DLG received in a 2011 settlement agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Valley Authority to improve energy efficiency in local governments. The EEC Revolving Loan Fund comes from recaptured EECBG funds as well as administrative savings from the program.
To read Gov. Beshear’s “Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future: Kentucky’s 7-Point Energy Strategy,” go to http://energy.ky.gov/resources/Pages/EnergyPlan.aspx.